On the Scene: A Scrapbook of Catch Up Time

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Where has the time gone to?  The year is flying by and this reporter can’t keep up with the news coming my way, so to make sure we don’t leave some things out, we’ll let photos sometimes tell the tale better than words.

Angel Island last month celebrated at its dinner, OUR AMERICAN JOURNEYS, special honorees who received the 2nd annual Immigrant Heritage Awards at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco. Raising over $150,000 that night from community sponsors, an active open and silent auction and raffle sales, the event’s 380 member audience heard heart rending stories from the honorees about their families immigration struggles coming to America.

Honored that evening were the Jewish Family and Children’s Services organization, California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard, Chinatown merchants May and Sinclair Louie, Sugar Bowl Bakery CEO Andrew Ly, and Always Dream Foundation president Kristi Yamaguchi .  Among the lucky raffle winners were Loretta Chow, Jean Mar, and May Lum who generously bought many tickets to increase their chance to win, which they actually did.  Active bidders and prize winners for the live auction prizes were as follows: Private tour of Hearst Castle – Phyllis Leong; Waikiki paradise vacation – Rick Guitierrez; Wine country Escape – Jeff Lee; Disneyland package, a Caroline Young signed painting and a private National Park Service Tour of Alcatraz  – William Lock; and a sleepover in a historic cottage in Angel Island – Lit Ng.

Congratulations and big thank you to all you donors to make our event the most successful of  recent years to raise funds for the Angel Island Immigrtion Station Foundation.

Angel Island Board members Buck Gee and Gerrye Wong greet Honorees Natasha Novosolov and Alexander Novel, Kristi Yamaguchi and Andrew Ly.


AIISF event guests Rose Dong, Leo Lin and son congratulate honoree Kristi Yamaguchi

American Journeys dinner patrons Tim Wong and Jennifer Li and Kristi Yamaguchi

Oh Happy Daze

Flanked by  a November wedding party of 11 bridesmaids and groomsmen were Shanelle Eng and Gregory Peterson at their Mercer Island in Seattle. Over three hundred guests heard Shanelle’s pastor Bernard Wewege from New Zealand and groom’s brother Glenn Peterson officiate the formal occasion before guests went to the reception at Seattle’s Air Museum. Traveling from California were the David Yees, Clifford Changs, Tom Tanabes, Werner Yees and Gary Lee.

Shanelle and Greg Peterson with parents Roger and Sylvia Eng at Seattle wedding,

While in Seattle, I ventured into its old Chinatown to visit the “The Wing”, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Tour Leader Don Wong gave us a tour of the museum which included a typical Chinese store, giving us a chance to see the products sold to the poor immigrant population then.   Don enthusiastically showed us the original boarding house which at the beginning of the century was the home of many Chinese immigrant men in the mainly bachelor society of that time. The day we went was the museum’s SHOP-O-RAMA where children were meeting “Miss Kitty” with their parents enjoying a free open house day to the museum and the opportunity to shop at the Wing’s Marketplace Museum store, according to The Wing’s director Beth Takekawa.


Had the pleasure of going to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum where Historian Murray Lee gave us the Asian Pacific Historic District Walking tour, one of the many interesting tours offered to visitors from the museum.  The group’s outreach and education programs offerings include a Museum Garden Tour, Searching for Gold Mountain: the Immigration Experience tour and San Diego Downtown Exploration. In their school and children’s programs, this non profit organization offers many classes including such titles as “The Culture and History of China in Broad Strokes, The Art of Chinese Paper Cutting, Calligraphy and Chinese painting and Poetry.  Alex Stewart and Murray Lee share their wealth of knowledge through a large list of adult classes offered.  The SDCHM has done a fine job of educating people about Chinese American experience in San Diego area.  Check out www. sdchm.org or 619-338-9888 to make arrangements for special tours or classes.

Wilson Fongs and Calvin Wongs take tour of San Diego Chinese Museum Garden with Curator Murray Lee and wife Gladys.

Maggie Breeden, former Mrs. Hawaii Chinatown, took us to her new day spa MASSAGE ONE in Escondido where Pauline Fong and I had a most relaxing facial and massage, much to our liking.  Her newly opened Day Spa  offers many treatments in private rooms, decorated most lavishly to relax the patient and free them from stress.  Busy proprietor Maggie, a new arrival to the Rancho Santa Fe area, is active with the Chinese opera club in San Diego’s Chinese community.  San Diego’s Asian Film Festival is a very popular event for budding filmmakers to showcase their latest.  One of the sponsors, Tom and Loretta Hom were avid moviegoers to every movie, at which many shows were sold out.


Massage One Day Spa owner Maggie Breeden welcomes Pauline Fong in Escondido.


Deanna and Herb Hom congratulate actress Mia Riverton during San Diego Film Festival


Happy Birthday celebrations were held for famous 90er Mollie Leong and Blossom Yim in San Francisco, as well as a landmark 80th birthday party for Vernon Wong at Tai Pan Restaurant in downtown Palo Alto.  The ever slim Mollie along with sons Russell and Eric Leong, greeted many old friends Renee Richardson, Buddy and Kendall Quong, Forrest Gok, Lorraine Dong and Marlon Hom, Phil and Sarah Choy, Laverne Ching  to name just a few of the popular Mollie’s friends.

Mollie Leong, right, celebrates 90th birthday with Ling Chi and Linda Wang, Laura Lai

Vernon Wong’s long awaited 80th was a gala affair where friends Ping and King Lee from Kansas held good sport Vernon captive as they ordered people in the audience to step up and pin signs all over Vernon’s tuxedo.

Irene Lee choreographed the program which featured a lion dance with 6 colorful lions, roasts and toasts from many colleagues. Long distance guests included Vernon’s sons Rob and Randy Wong with their families, and sister Geri and Lloyd Wong from Hawaii.   Also congratulating the man of the hour were California friends Ted and Doris Lee, George and Helen Leong,  Jerry and Peggy Gin, Chet and Heidi Tan.

Vernon Wong and grandson welcome Lion Dancers


Let’s hear a long drum rolllllllllll…….

Grandma Gerrye announces proudly that her three grandchildren Melissa Matsuura on flute, Garrett Wong on Sax, and Braden Wong on trombone will be among the 250 members of their Homestead High School band who will be marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.

Their band was chosen over hundreds of school band applicants to be one of only 10 high school bands chosen for this momentous occasion. Plan to look for them among the first 15 units in the parade – so get up early and don’t blink! So wheeee…..off go the Wongs to the big apple to sheer from the sidelines. Pray for sunshine we hope to bring from California!!

Homestead High School Band members going to Macy's Parade - Melissa Matsuura, Garrett and Braden Wong

CHINESE HISTORICAL & CULTURAL PROJECT along with History San Jose held a public celebration festival heralding the 20th anniversary of the organization which built and gave a replica of the original 1888 temple to the City of San Jose in 1991.  Beginning with the Lion Dance opening up the program and blessing the museum with its good wishes, many of the former board members who helped with the capital campaign for the building returned to see the fruits of their hard work and dreams.  The public festival welcomed hundreds of new and old friends with continuous 4 hours of entertainment rounded up by Brenda Hee Wong, children’s crafts with Mrs. Joachim, and fast food booth selling hot dogs, chicken salad, and dim sum pastries run by James and Evelyn Gate, Jennie Hong and Muriel Kao. Festival Chairmen were Yvonne Ching and Ann Wong.  Pearl Lee was the super salesman selling thousands of dollars of raffles, while docent tours were handled by the members of the Chinese American Womens Club.

CHCP founders with former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer, Mignon Gibson and Margie Matthews.


Baby Conner Reese Mesinas is seen at San Francisco Red Egg Party with grandmother Cheryl Lam, mother Margot, and cousin Kelly Matsuurs

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